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Preventing Crabgrass

March 2, 2016

If you love your lawn, you’ve gotta hate crabgrass.  It’s an aggressive, stubborn weed.  Even if you had just one crabgrass plant last year, your lawn could have thousands of crabgrass seeds lying in the soil right now ready to grow up and choke your good grass to death.

This photo of a mature crabgrass plant appeared in a Scotts publication about 20 years ago.  The caption:  “A single seed produced this monster crabgrass plant, which crowded out good grass as it grew.  Each plant is capable of producing tens of thousands of seeds for an even bigger problem next year.”

This photo of a mature crabgrass plant appeared in a Scotts publication about 20 years ago. The caption: “A single seed produced this monster crabgrass plant, which crowded out good grass as it grew. Each plant is capable of producing tens of thousands of seeds for an even bigger problem next year.”

I have good news.  You can stop crabgrass and several other kinds of annual weeds before they begin to grow this spring.  Put down some Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer around the time of your first mowing.  This product does just what its name says:  halts crabgrass in its tracks by creating a barrier on your soil that stops it from germinating.  Plus it gives your good grass the deep Turf Builder feeding it needs to green up and create new roots this spring.  Unlike the bargain brands, the particles are tiny, which means you get a good weed barrier on every inch of your lawn.

If you plan on putting down some grass seed this spring, you need to use a different crabgrass preventer that will not keep your new grass from growing.  Instead, use Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass plus Weed Preventer as it is compatible with grass seed and has the special food to help you get new grass faster.

You should apply your crabgrass Preventer by the time forsythia bushes in your neighborhood have stopped blooming and lost their flowers, or if you do not have forsythia, by the time you see lilacs in bloom, or before you start seeing dandelion puffballs.

You should apply your crabgrass Preventer by the time forsythia bushes in your neighborhood have stopped blooming and lost their flowers, or if you do not have forsythia, by the time you see lilacs in bloom, or before you start seeing dandelion puffballs.

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5 Comments
  1. I applied a thin layer of topsoil to spread over my lawn in the fall and also seeded areas of my lawn mixed with this topsoil. The problem is this topsoil had a lot of pebbles mixed in and I’m wondering if this will be a problem for my lawn (especially the areas I reseeded) going forward. Any suggestion on how to get these pebbles up out of the lawn/topsoil (trying to rake the pebbles out of the lawn seemed to just scatter them even more). Thanks and great blog.

    • Hi PJ
      Small pebbles (like pea size gravel) should not be an issue. If the pebbles are large (quarter size) and there are enough of them to be very visible when you look down (8 or 10 or more per square foot), your grass may look thin until your lawn matures. (Picking them up in heavy areas may be a good kid job. Not sure what the going rate is??? Penny a pebble???) Good luck!

  2. Steve Dick permalink

    All the crabgrass products say ‘turf’on them. I didn’t think anything about that as i associated turf as grass of any kind. I talked to our local county weed and pest control officer and he said that turf ment only around the house or golf course type of lawn. Do not use that product in the pasture-or they will not because it only says turf. I called several suppliers-the actual producer and not one of them would say much more than the product was not intended to be used in an area grazed by stock. I have by dumb luck only applied the products outside my pasture, but i have sprayed and spread inside the fence as i applied along the fence line not really thinking any thing about it. I have never had any problems with my cattle or horses after they have grazed that area, so my question boils down to what if anything would happen to the animals if i applied the product at its intended rate on my pasture?

    • Hi Steve Dick
      Scotts Turf Builder plus Halts Crabgrass Preventer label/product was approved by the EPA for use only on home lawns. I do not have experience using this active ingredient on pasture areas that are grazed or where hay is baled, however I know this active ingredient is used in some areas of agriculture/farming. I suggest you do an internet search with the active ingredient name: “pendimethalin” and “pasture” and your state to see if there is info from your extension service that will tell you if it is recommended for pastures and if there is a waiting period before grazing and/or harvesting hay. Hope this helps.

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